Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The battle is lost, but the war still rages.

The results of yesterday's elections has pushed back the pro-life cause, in particular with the victory of Missouri Amendment 2, legalizing clone-and-kill, human-egg-harvesting scientific research; and with the widespread victory of those politicians who support the destruction of our culture.

The original kulturkampf in Germany during the late 19th century was more radical, but also less successful than the current culture war in the United States. The delaying, incremental tactics of those seeking the secularization of society, coupled with their tactic of bypassing politics by forcing change via the judiciary, has led to a sense of hopelessness for our cause. There seems to be nothing that we can do.

Obviously, our liberal democratic system of government has failed to provide us a just and moral society, against all of its promises. But why should we be surprised? Why should 'society' — which is just other people — create a moral order if the citizenry is not moral to begin with? Do we really believe in the secular religion that teaches that majority rule and Supreme Court decisions are collectively wiser than the individuals that comprise them?

Perhaps the time is right for us to lose our faith in democracy.

The American system of government has failed us. Because of this failing, there is a temptation for Christians to abandon the world, and give up on the fight, but clearly that is what the opposition wants. Everyone has a moral duty, as part of the virtue of justice, to cooperate with others in society. We cannot leave the world to the secularists who want to create the impossible Heaven on earth. Even Saint Antony of the Desert, the first monk, left his fortress of solitude to preach against heresy and to comfort the persecuted.

If we cannot trust democracy to win this culture war, how should we fight the next battle?

Society is just people, sinners like you and me, and all of the governmental systems, jurisdictions, checks and balances, are just other people. Everyone has opinions which are either true or false, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, or some mixture of these, and we act on these opinions.

The culture war is then a spiritual war; it exists first of all in our souls: our intellect, our passions, and our will. It is not a war of force or power.

Peter Kreeft has two good audio lectures on fighting a spiritual war: We cannot win the war with strength. Instead, we need saints.

Only a few saints can change the world, or rather, God working through the saints can change the hearts of innumerable wicked men. Just a little bit a sanctity can go a long way, like the drunk who gives up drink for just one day so that, while sober, he can beg his family's forgiveness, or like the one smile and nod from a stranger that can lift the spirit of a lonely person for a whole day.

Once in a daydream, I imagined God judging the United States of America, and considering whether or not to destroy it for its wickedness. [OK, that is perhaps questionable theology, but this is just a fantasy.] The USA does everything in a very big way, and sin is no exception. Like Abraham attempting to save Sodom, I imagined bargaining with God: after all, just because lots of people are bad, or the system is bad, doesn't mean that the good have to suffer, even though all of this is God's prerogative. I love my country, even though it can be very bad; it shouldn't suffer, even if it deserves it. And with this bargaining, the US got a vastly better deal than Sodom: the US just needed six saints versus Sodom's ten men of justice. That is a very small number in a big country, even if that small number is merely a bare minimum. Unfortunately, I can't think of six saints; maybe two or three, but not six. Where are these saints? And what about my own sanctity, and yours?


  1. Mark!
    This is some post!
    We believe what the Church teachesthrough the infallability of the Pope!
    We are human, we make mistakes, we make bad choices, we are forgiven and we move forward.

    Your daydream reminds me that to the outside world a religious life can look strange indeed, vowed, sometimes hidden away, prayerful, sacrificial, not unlike many of our own lives silently trying to live our best.

    It is said if you look at a religious Community you will find one who is a living rule...more than likely a saint in the midst of the many.

    Look at the faithful in the same light. You will be pleasantly surprised to see many daily saints silently going to Mass, making sick calls, serving on bread lines, and on and on.

    God gives us the eyes to see with, it is we who have to train our focus.

  2. I suppose that I was thinking of public, and not silent, saints; more like the prophets of old. I do know that there are probably millions of silent saints in the US, who do the Lord's work in humility.

  3. I struggle with this having children ranging from early elementary to late teen. What kind of a country are we leaving to these young people? Part of our motivation for homeschooling them was to teach them a reverence for life, to always be mindful that we live under God's watchful eye. So it's disheartening to see the continuing unraveling of our society.

    I just read today that the movie The Nativity is being premiered at the Vatican. And as an aside, the young actress is pregnant with her first child by her boyfriend. What irony.

    Please keep sharing your thoughts. I'm in a pessimistic mood today. Maybe because it's Friday.